Born a Piper of Pinkmaiden in 96, Lady Taria Buckwell was famed in her youth for her beauty, and was called the Maid of Pinkmaiden. She wed well, to Lord Derik Buckwell, and as she matured she became one of the most notable ladies of the court. She now resides in King’s Landing permanently, and it’s said that her influence has helped those she is friends with, and harmed those she dislikes.
This tall woman, standing at about 5’10”, appears to have once been beautiful. While still handsome and holding a type of beauty, her patrician’s face is softly wrinkled with high cheekbones and an aquiline nose. Her green eyes hold a sharp intelligence and warmth. Her once long and beautiful red hair, now turned snow white, is held up by a silver coronet set with deep red garnets.
She wears a simple dress of deep grey-blue set along the waist with a silver belt woven into the fabric. The hems of her dress and sleeves are also in silver thread. Her only other adornment is a small cluster of yellow topaz and diamonds set in silver filigree necklace and a simple silver ring on her left hand.
Lady Taria is one of those tragic figures who presents herself as warm, caring and always concerned for the well-being of those around her. But the warmth is a guise. The tragedies she has lived through over the last forty years have made her hard. While she successfully feigns the warmth, she is at her depth a cold and calculating woman, willing to dismiss or eliminate even the most innocent for political necessity. There are few exceptions to this part of her ... she maintains a sort of nostalgic soft spot for the chivalrous, anything that might remind her of the days before the Dance of Dragons, the days when she was the Maid of Pinkmaiden and her Lord and love came down the river to her.
She is immensely proud of her children, especially her living sons and now that Jarmon has come to King’s Landing intends on grooming him for a position at Court as well. If one were to paint a portrait of her, of which there are quite a few throughout the Kingdoms; one that would dutifully sum up Taria as a person, they might place her before a chess board, observing it rather than looking up at the viewer, with a hand ready to move the next piece.
The only daughter of House Piper, Taria was raised in her childhood for one purpose. Profitable marriage. Her noble family was well regarded during her father’s day and held vast tracts of land in the south of the Riverlands at the head of Red Fork, full of fields of wheat and lumber from the south. Taria never questioned her duty to her father. Adoring him, she believed that her absolute priority was to be worthy enough to live up to her father’s expectations. As her mother died when she was only two, Taria was left in the care of Septa Marta, a woman of noble birth from King’s Landing who instilled in the young girl all the etiquettes of court and the histories of the great Houses. Septa Marta however also instilled in Taria, whom she loved dearly, with another skill. How to survive. Politically.
Taria learned that the ways of court and the Great Game of Houses was the bread that a woman of noble birth buttered. The Septa told her that in truth, while the men may play their game, it is the women behind the thrones, whether in King’s Landing, Riverrun or even a small court such as at Pinkmaiden Castle, that hold real power. The power to influence husbands, sons and fathers. The ability to move through the halls of power typically ignored and thus able to do many things. And most important, the power to control the marriages within the Game of Thrones. Taria took these lessons to heart and as she grew to become a young, beautiful woman ... tall as all Pipers were. As her mother had passed away, Taria took on the role of lady of the castle in many regards. While her father rather preferred the trade and business, Taria Piper soon began to host parties as Pinkmaiden Castle. Soon the entertainment at Pinkmaiden became popular with nobles from Riverrun and all along the Red Fork sailing down the river to the castle. Taria would dance for her guests and her abilities as a host earned her the title the Maid of Pinkmaiden and her beauty and grace became a legend during this time.
Word of the Maid of Pinkmaiden eventually made its way to King’s Landing and during a beautiful autumn the House of Piper was visited by the King’s Court, with the Tullys and many of the lords of King’s Landing, the Riverlands and Dragonstone attending. Looking back, for both her older brother Mychel and herself, that autumn was perhaps the happiest of their lives. Both were to meet their first loves and be betrothed at that time. Mychel, the young heir of Pinkmaiden was betrothed to Wenella Blackwood. Taria’s betrothal was something more complex. It was in the end King Viserys I’s Queen who took a hand in placing the Maid of Pinkmaiden squarely under the influence of the Targaryens who desired the young woman’s beauty at their court. A betrothal was made between Taria and the young Lord Derik Buckwell of the Antlers. As the autumn came to an end, and the nobles returned to their homes for the winter, Pinkmaiden Castle soon emptied. And with the lordly barges and the King’s river ship went the Maid of Pinkmaiden never to return.
Lord Buckwell was not an entirely romantic man outwardly, but he genuinely had fallen in love with his bride and the feeling was returned. Her husband allowed her to control much at court that did not directly have to do with the governance of the Antlers, and the young Lady Buckwell spent much time at King’s Landing, her beauty now almost a trophy for the Targaryens while Taria herself secured her husbands position at court.
Taria gave her husband five beautiful children and enlivened the court of King’s Landing and the Antlers to an even higher degree than they had previously enjoyed. Known as being generous of heart, intelligent and open to her subjects, the Lady of the Antlers soon garnered many close friends from throughout the Kingdom and the Targaryens came to her often on matters of culture, etiquette and entertainment. It was only her children who saw the other side of Taria. The side of her that was in truth a cold, calculating intellect ... who used pleasantry, friendship and all the wiles of her charm and beauty to serve the machinations of politics. Those politics always served the Buckwells, however and all of her children recognized that even when their own wishes were not considered, their mother acted only out of devotion to their future. Each marriage arranged, every education enforced on them, even down to the friends they were allowed to have was a careful plan of Lady Taria’s to place them above others in esteem and regard. And all the children recognized the love Taria had for their father. Lord Derik and the children were the only people that Taria allowed her heart to warm to, even if she feigned such warmth to others.
After her husband’s death, Taria moved permanently to King’s Landing, leaving the Antlers for good an securing a small palace in the capital from which she could maintain her position in society. With continued revenues from lands she owns in the Riverlands, granted to her by her brother Mychel, she is able to maintain herself without being a burden on House Buckwell or her progeny.
While much older and no longer the Maid of Pinkmaiden, Lady Taria still presides over King’s Landing as the cultured grand dame of the nobles at the Targaryen’s court at King’s Landing. Having left the Antlers permanently now to reside in the capital, she manipulates and schemes. She has successfully secured positions of authority for her sons and good marriages for her daughters, although her beloved Jathany’s death some years ago is what many say accounts for some of the loss of her cheerfulness. The court at the Antlers she leaves to her daughter-in-law, with whom she has rarely had an amicable relationship in any case, while her chief goal now is to acquire a wife for her grandson, one which will rise the banner of Buckwell even higher.
Lady Taria’s son, Bonifer, was wed to a northern girl—Elyn Buckwell—in the middle of the year 160. Before then, he had given up his commission as a royal galley captain in the king’s fleet, instead becoming his nephew’s castellan. This was a decision of which Lady Taria has not approved.
Lady Taria is well-connected at court, and has many friends. She has helped to arrange any number of betrothals in her day, thanks to her wide acquaintanceship. Of particular note are her close ties to the Targaryen queens in the past, and her mentoring of Tinessa Tully, who would one day become Lady of Riverrun.